Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Joining the Freakishly Tall Todd Friel...
02/26/2007 - James WhiteI got this voice mail on my new Blackberry last week. This MASSIVE RADIO VOICE guy calls me. I mean, I can do a radio voice. I grew up doing radio. But, it isn't natural. This guy has a radio voice 24/7. It's...just how he sounds. And of course, I am referring to Todd Friel, host of Way of the Master Radio. I'll be joining him tomorrow (Tuesday) and we'll be talking about something...but, given the "we found Jesus' body" story I noted over the weekend and that is now all over us like a bad haircut, we may end up having to address it. Who knows? But tune us in anyway, here. I am scheduled for the second hour, 3pm CST.
Measuring the Ride...Vertically
02/24/2007 - James WhiteWell, it took me two months to find the time to actually get around to doing this again. Back in December of 2005 I did a "triple ascent" of South Mountain here in Phoenix for my 43rd birthday, and so I was going to do it again for my 44th. I figured if I added a little in I could up it to 44 miles and 4400 feet. Weather and my desire to row 200,000m in December conspired to push it back, so I tried on New Year's Day. Big mistake. It was like they had shifted the entire traffic pattern of I-17 onto the two lane, winding road in South Mountain Park. Literally bumper-to-bumper at times, and when you are on a road bike, that stinks. So there was no way I was going to play dodge-car for three ascents that day. So, I decided to try for President's Day, 2/19. Rained all day. I hate riding in the rain. So, finally, on Wednesday, 2/21, I set out. My riding buddy Eddie McKee couldn't get off work to join me, so I was solo the whole way.
First ascent I did the "heart rate control" thing, keeping my heart rate as low as possible so as to maintain my glycogen supplies for that third attempt. South Mountain reserves its steepest grades for the last half mile (of course!), and I'm still a big boy, so climbing 10%+ grades is an energy-intensive task. Managed to do well on the first run, keeping my energy output as low as practically possible.
Second run things were going well until I heard a loud, deep rumble behind me. I was at a point where you can see a long way down the mountain, and as I looked back I saw a biker's worst nightmare: a huge tractor-trailer loaded with heavy equipment, obviously heading for the farm of television and radio towers at the top. What do you do? Stop and wait for it to go by, or try to outrun it? I did some quick calculations and picked up the pace. It would have caught me but for a very sharp turn about 1.5 miles from the top that required it to do some tricky maneuvering. Here you can see it from my vantage point at the top of the second run, and then a few minutes later as it waited for the gates to be opened so it could get to its destination. That took a bit more energy than I had planned to expend on the second run.
Third run started fine. The weather was exceptional. 72 for a high, probably upper sixties for the last run. My biking friends back East can't help but be a bit jealous at this point (of course, during the summer, I have to be down there by 5am to start by 5:15am with a beginning temperature, before sunrise, of 93 degrees). But as I approached the steep grades at the top I started to feel something that is quite unusual for me: my quads were starting to cramp up. Now, when you are on 10%+ grades, cramping quads not only hurt, but, since there was some traffic there, it is a bit dangerous. I had to stop once to try to stretch them out, but getting started again from a dead stop on a grade is tricky (those who ride know that is the one time your cleats just won't click in right the first time). But I refused to give up, and made it to the top. But guess what happened then? Yeah, the truck, having been unloaded, decided to head down. Now, a bike can descend winding mountain roads faster than most four wheeled vehicles. On the straighter portions of the descent I'll be in the lower to mid 30s speed-wise, and obviously I can take a turn much tighter than a car, and surely a whole lot faster than the truck. Thankfully, I found a spot near the top to pass him safely, but then I had to keep my speed up the rest of the way down. He surely made my day interesting. ...
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